Looking to the Future
President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
North Star Fund Donor since 1979
Toward the end of his life, Toby invited me to a meeting with Hugh Hogan and a few others at his Skadden Arp office, in a sky-high conference room overlooking much of the city. He knew he did not have a long life ahead, but the meeting was about the future. Not his future, but the future of an organization, North Star, that reflected his underlying politics: that progressive social change is rooted in grassroots activism -- a politics demonstrated by its actuality, such as the remarkable victories of Brandworkers and Domestic Workers United.
Toby never deviated from that belief, no matter the circumstances of his life -- whether he was working in a township in South Africa, or at prestigious law firm. What really moved me that day was the importance he placed on making sure that North Star's plans for a significant future campaign would be a success -- despite his illness. In almost all ways it was like any other meeting -- we gave our thoughts on the proposed ideas and asked for another go-around.
Except, it was not like any other meeting. For beneath its surface normality, we knew that there would not be many more such meetings with Toby. But Toby, being Toby, would never have even hinted that might be so. When we think about Toby we think about his warmth, his smile and his laugh; but we should never forget what he stood for and the organization that embodied his beliefs.